Ditch diets, relaxing sheds pounds

Forget dieting, yoga and meditation are the key to dropping a dress size

If the detox diet has fallen by the wayside this January, don’t beat yourself up about it after new research says women who want to shed the pounds should quit dieting and relax instead.

That’s right, stress-free living is the key to getting slim according to a two-year study of women who adhered to a routine of yoga and meditation. The women who took part managed to not only lose weight, but keep it off.

By contrast those who concentrated solely on exercise and nutrition were less successful.

The study also revealed that those who found their inner being were generally happier and healthier.

The theory behind the weight loss? By reducing stress, women’s cravings for the wrong types of food lessen.

Experts at the University of Otago in New Zealand analysed 225 overweight women, dividing them into three groups. One group concentrated on yoga, meditation and positive visualisation. The next on physical exercise and nutrition and the third used nutritional information sent to them in the post.

All three groups managed to keep the pounds off, however ‘the most striking results’ were seen in the yoga and meditation group, who averaged a weight loss of 2.5kg.

Study co-author Dr Caroline Horwath explained: ‘At the two-year mark, these women were the only ones to maintain the psychological and medical symptom improvements.

‘The positive results are exciting, given the limited long-term success of traditional dieting approaches.

She added: ‘By learning and practising relaxation techniques as part of a wider lifestyle change programme, women have effective tools to manage stress and emotions without resorting to unhealthy eating.’

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